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Baltimore Crime Beat Police and court news
City awards $60K in back-pay to officer cleared of soliciting a minor

Baltimore's spending panel voted 4-1 Wednesday to award $60,000 in back-pay to a city officer who had been suspended without pay while facing sexual abuse charges in Howard County.

The Board of Estimates approved the payment to Officer Charles W. Hagee, 45, of Columbia. He remains on the city's police force. Police said Wednesday he is now on a paid suspension and assigned to administrative duties.

"The charges were disposed of in his favor," said City Solicitor George Nilson. "People in that position may face other administrative charges internally. But once charges are disposed of in your favor, you are entitled to back pay."

City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young voted against the deal.

Hagee was suspended without pay on March 20 of 2014 after he was charged with sexual abuse and solicitation of a minor by Howard County police. Investigators accused him of communicating with a 14-year-old girl advertising prostitution services online and engaging in sexual activity on three...

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Passenger in NSA incident was shot, official confirms

The passenger in the SUV that was fired on by police at the National Security Agency on Monday sustained a gunshot wound in the incident, an official confirmed Wednesday. There was still no word on the person's condition.

A spokeswoman for Fort Meade — which led the emergency medical response to the incident — said the passenger was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with a gunshot wound. A firefighter on the scene Monday said the passenger had been shot in the chest.

The NSA said Monday that an SUV drove off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and up a restricted entrance ramp, and the driver failed to obey "routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus."

The agency said the SUV accelerated toward an NSA Police vehicle, and officers opened fire. The driver of the SUV was pronounced dead on the scene.

The FBI has identified the driver as Ricky Shawatza Hall, 27, of Baltimore. Friends say and police records show that Hall identified as transsexual and went by...

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Former county police cadet sentenced in drug theft case

A former Baltimore County police cadet was sentenced to four years in prison Wednesday for taking cash and thousands of dollars worth of oxycodone and other drugs from the department's evidence room, according to prosecutors.

Nicholas Michael Ishmael, 21, assigned to the department's evidence management unit, was arrested in June after an investigation found that he had taken more 3,000 pills of oxycodone and other drugs valued between $30,000 and $125,000, the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office said in a statement. When he was stopped by detectives, they also found he had $40,000 cash in a drawstring backpack taken from the evidence room.

Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert E. Cahill, Jr. sentenced Ishmael on Wednesday to 20 years, with all but four years suspended, the statement said. He will be on supervised probation upon release from prison.

Ishmael's attorney, Brian G. Thompson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Previously, Thompson told...

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Suspect being booked in Baltimore fails to scale fence, escape

A man being taken to the Central Booking and Intake Center by police tried unsuccessfully to escape over a fence but was injured and caught Wednesday, a spokesman said.

The suspect escaped from an officer shortly after 10 a.m., fled down a service road toward Madison Street, scaling a fence where he injured himself and was apprehended by police, said Mark A. Vernarelli, a spokesman with the state department of public safety and correctional services.

Two correctional officers stopped him near the Madison Street sally port, he said. "Our officers reacted fast and were at the gate when the arrestee attempted to get out onto Madison Street," Vernarelli said in an email.

The suspect, who Vernarelli did not identify, was taken by ambulance to an area hospital.

Baltimore police did not identify the suspect Wednesday because he had not been formally charged, a department spokesman said.

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Second lawsuit filed in Rams Head videotaping case

A second lawsuit has been filed against Rams Head and the company's former president, who is accused of secretly recording women in a bathroom at a restaurant in Howard County.

Three women said they were customers who used the restrooms at Rams Head's Savage Mill location — where secret videotaping was alleged to have taken place — between January and May of 2014. The women say in the lawsuit that they "reasonably expected private restrooms, un-intruded by surreptitiously installed video surveillance equipment."

Kyle Muehlhauser, then the president of Rams Head, was charged in February in Howard County with multiple counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent and "peeping Tom" and is scheduled for a trial in Howard County District Court on April 23.

In the latest lawsuit, filed March 24, the three women are seeking class-action status, saying they and other women suffered humiliation, anxiety and distress due to the videotaping. They're seeking more than $20 million in...

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James Berry acquitted in 2008 double murder

Jurors listened for several hours as a man prosecutors called a "murder consultant" described in sometimes-chilling detail how he and former Olympic boxing hopeful James Berry killed two men in October 2008.

But after about a day of deliberations, the jury acquitted Berry on Wednesday of all charges in the fatal shootings of Howard Grant, 18, and his cousin Justin Berry, 19.

Outside the courtroom, Grant's father asked repeatedly: "What does it take" to get a conviction?

"This is why they kill each other," Howard Grant Sr. said. "They can beat it in court."

Berry's attorneys said the state's case was based on neighborhood rumors, and they assailed the credibility of co-defendant Quinzell Covington, the "murder consultant," who pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder and conspiracy.

Berry, 27, who was emotional at times during the trial, hugged his lawyers after the verdict was read.

Berry has been charged in six homicides since 2008. He was acquitted of one in 2010 and remains held...

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